Pentagon investigates potential location of Korean War military chaplain’s remains
ATLANTA, Nov. 6, 2013 /Christian Newswire/ — As the country gets ready to celebrate our veterans, a senior pentagon analyst responsible for locating the remains of Korean War troops missing in action said there is a “better than even chance” that the body of Medal of Honor recipient Father Emil Kapaun will be found buried in a national cemetery in Hawaii, according to award-winning journalist Roy Wenzl, coauthor of THE MIRACLE OF FATHER KAPAUN, published by Ignatius Press.
In a recent story for The Wichita Eagle, “Pentagon analyst thinks there’s a chance the body of Emil Kapaun could be found,” Wenzl wrote that friends of Kapaun’s who were prisoners of war say Chinese Army guards buried Kapaun in a shallow unmarked grave after he died of starvation and disease in a North Korean prison camp in May 1951. The assumption since then by the Army has always been that Kapaun’s remains are still there.
But Pentagon analyst Philip O’Brien, an authority on Korean War soldiers missing in action, said he thinks Kapaun’s remains may have been resting since 1954 in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, the cemetery in Hawaii better known as the “Punchbowl.” Hundreds of unknown soldiers and other veterans from several wars lie there.
“My best belief, a presumptive belief, is that we have a good chance, better than even, of having Father Kapaun in possession right now,” O’Brien said.
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Kapaun posthumously received the Medal of Honor from President Barack Obama in April, nearly 60 years after he heroically gave his life as a POW in the Korean War. The Vatican is also considering him a possible candidate for Sainthood. In fact, Vatican officials just recently completed a visit to the United States in September to gather additional information.
Father John Hotze, the Wichita Diocese priest in charge of the Kapaun sainthood investigation for the Vatican, said finding Kapaun’s remains would be significant news.
The Church would step in immediately and coordinate with the family to protect the remains from theft, relic hunters or any other harm, he said.